sunday circular

10 Products That Delighted Us Last Week: From Coloring Books to Compact Dryers

Photo: Courtesy of the retailers

We write about hundreds of products a week. Here, in our version of the Sunday circular, we’ve plucked out some of our favorites — expert-recommended essentials, life-changing stuff you didn’t know you needed, newly launched gizmos, and the very good deals we uncovered while trolling through the vast online-shopping universe this past week.

An ointment to help soothe irritation caused by face masks

Last week, a New York City doctor asked us to help “me and all the other health-care workers wearing an N95 mask and a plastic face shield figure out a skin-care routine that could make this less uncomfortable.” We, of course, sprung to action, putting together a full routine of calming and soothing products. Those who do not have time for a full routine, however, might find some relief simply from this ointment, which dermatologist Dr. Loretta Ciraldo recommends applying all over your face right before you put on the mask (a thin layer is more than enough). It will create a protective veil between the skin and fabric of the face mask, she told us.

The coloring book that’s keeping actress Angela Kinsey busy

“Since I’m basically homeschooling right now, we’re doing art in the morning, so we’ve been coloring more than we have in a long time,” the Office star told us when we talked to her about the things she can’t live without. “I sit with them and color in the Enchanted Forest book. All of the pages have these really cool, sci-fi, magical-looking places. Right now, I’m coloring a castle that’s floating in a sea of leaves in the sky.”

A thoughtful birthday gift for these times (as well as better days)

The right birthday gift is hard enough to find when there isn’t a global health-care crisis demanding you stay inside every day. Replying to a reader who asked for thoughtful birthday-gift ideas that feel appropriate for the present moment, one of our 26 ideas was this luxurious set of cashmere sweats (that aren’t too expensive for cashmere). Certainly appropriate for working or lounging at home, they’re also the type of gussied-up basic you could wear to brunch — whenever that time comes. (The joggers, we should note, are available in limited sizes at Naadam, but the brand makes a similar pair of cashmere joggers exclusively for QVC that you can buy in many sizes here; and for more Strategist-approved cashmere pants, click here.)

A Will Shortz–approved crossword-puzzle book

According to the legendary New York Times crossword-puzzle editor, “we’re living in the golden age of crosswords — they’ve never been as interesting or as well made as they are now.” If you’ve finished all the puzzles in that stack of old New York and People magazines you’ve kept for a rainy day (you know the stack), Shortz and several other crossword obsessives recently recommended their favorite crossword-puzzle books for passing the time. While many of them suggested collections of Shortz’s own puzzles, the man himself suggested this “addictive and really well-made” book: “What I like to do most are cryptic crossword puzzles in the British style, but by American puzzle-makers — there are some really nice ones that have appeared in the Nation magazine for years and years.”

An expert-recommended way to boost Wi-Fi

Those working from home, writes contributor Tobey Grumet Segal, “probably know that getting a wireless signal from your router to the spot you happen to be in isn’t always so easy.” If you keep getting bumped from Zoom calls, experts told Segal to consider installing a mesh network, which “leapfrogs your Wi-Fi signal to hard-to-reach nooks and crannies using small nodes strategically placed around your home.” Like a lot of new technology, the systems experts recommend aren’t cheap, but this one from Eero is a budget-friendly option that will get the job done (it’s $100 cheaper than the next expensive model on our list). Of the Eero, Segal writes: “Our colleagues at the Verge describe it as ‘not the fastest mesh system, but one of the easiest to use,’ and Damien Corr, digital product manager and IT consultant at Systems Evolution Inc., says, ‘The price is right, and it’s not unduly clunky.’”